Games are generally regarded as bit of entertainment that should be relaxing, but those of us who have been gaming for many a year will be well aware that it is simply not the case. Sometimes there are moments in games that are more stressful than your real life and it tasks you to deal with it. Below are moments I regard as stressful times I’ve experienced in games. Obviously many of the titles are made up of horror games, but there are a few non-horror games that’ll push your stress levels through the roof too.
Dead Space 2 (the regenerating Ubermorph)
Dead Space is scary as it is. Around each corner there is a Necromorph waiting to pounce on you and make you its bitch. There are jump scares aplenty and enough horror dripping down each dark corridor to have you running for the hills. But no, they decided in Dead Space 2, towards the end, that they would inject more stress into your life with the showing of the Ubermorph. This bastard regenerates and constantly hunts you. You’re never safe and always on the lookout for its appearance – sometimes arriving out of sight and attacking when you least expect it. It’s relentless. Visceral Games (of old), I love you, but I also hate you.
Resident Evil 2 remake (Tyrant)
Is there any other game that causes stress when merely hearing the sound of footsteps? Chances are that this particular entry is still fresh in your mind. The Tyrant originally showed up in scenario B in Resident Evil 2 back in 1998, but with the remake the devs at Capcom decided that it was a good idea to have him show up in scenario A. He’s tougher than ever and downing him only halts his progress towards you for a few minutes. Just when you think you’ve completely lost him in a new area, he’ll show up to have your heart beating through your chest again. And we are excited for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis? We obviously love punishment.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Air timer music)
Stressful moments in games can come from titles that on the surface look completely innocent. Take Sonic the Hedgehog for example. It’s all about collecting rings and, crucially, speed. Enter Labybrith Zone and all that speed disappears. There isn’t much air in this mostly underwater act and it’s up to you to be on the lookout for air bubbles or reach the surface to keep air in Sonic’s lungs. The only problem is that there is no air meter of any kind and only when the five-second timer counts down with its dreadful music accompanying it, are you made aware of your circumstances. As result you end up doing silly things in your effort to find air and it becomes a stressful mess. We’ve all been there.
Evil Within (Laura)
Never played the Evil Within, ‘eh? Remember the trailer with the six arms or legs (whatever it is) monster – it’s that thing. Quite possibly one of the creepiest characters ever created in a video game and of course it comes from the mind that had you jumping out of your shoes when the dogs jumped through the windows in Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami. Your first encounter with her has her shaping out of a pool of blood into the monstrosity she is and your only form of defense is to run in your first encounter. She appears numerous times and every appearance is a perfect cubicle of stress. True Story: My wife loves watching me play The Evil Within, because she thinks me screaming like a girl is the best thing ever. I call Laura the six-legged witch b*tch… we have a complicated history.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Time)
We all love that classic franchise. Will there ever be another skating game like it? I doubt it. But, what made it so damn addictive? I believe the secret recipe lay in the two-minute timer you had to deal with. It was perfect for quick sessions, but because of it, it also pushed our heart rate to the max. Trying to get that sick score? Make sure you don’t bail and keep your eye on that timer. The only way to extend that timer is by performing numerous manuals and transfers to keep the combo going… and then you would bail and lose it all. It was more stressful that you might recall.
Gears of War (Beserker)
Honestly, this was the moment in a game that made me think of this list. My wife and I recently replayed Gears of War Ultimate on a harder difficulty and I assume that our neighbours heard the both of us freaking out. Having the Beserker running towards you is a genuine panicky moment in games. It’s the first and unexpected encounter that is the worst. You have to constantly keep your eyes focused on her, but there are times where she’ll bash through the wall or pillars and your only option is to dive out of harms way. It is fun when you are playing co-op and watching her chase your partner, but then she changes her target and you’re running again.
Left 4 Dead (Witch)
One of the best team-based games ever created and one that’ll have you blasting zombies and other undead creatures to bits. It’s generally all about action, until you bump into a Witch. You’ll hear the Witch sobbing from a distance. Disturbing her is just not an option. Your objective is to quietly walk by her, without as much as your flashlight shining on her. All you can hear is your own heartbeat as the team strategically passes by. Make a noise, when in her vicinity, and you’ll startle her with the result being one dead crew member. If ever there was suspense in an online team-based game this Witch is the essence of that.
Tetris 99 (running out of space)
A simple puzzle game. How stressful can that be? I mean, you match the blocks up and grab yourself a few lines and that’s that. Maybe, but add 99 players and suddenly the whole formula turns on its head. Reach level 50, 20 and 10 for the blocks to fall down at a faster rate, while fending off the other players in their attempt to have you make a mistake. It’s extremely stressful. To date I’ve only come second (numerous times) and I just can’t crack that no.1 spot. I’m going to die of a heart attack because of stress in a puzzle game one day.
Horizon Zero Dawn (Thunderjaw)
There is no battle in Horizon Zero Dawn that is easy. In fact, it’s one game that does not hold your hand. You best git gud or you’ll be dying a lot. But, the first time you come face-to-face with your first Thunderjaw you’ll know that the grand daddy of the machines has arrived. It’s the “T-Rex” version of the machines in the game and comes with so much armour and weaponry that it’s a very tough battle. As it’s your first one, you’ll die several times before finding its weakspot and the right weapons to pull it apart, but expect it to be extremely stressful. At least encounters thereafter are easier thanks to the knowledge you’ve gained.
Outlast (No weapons)
I’m just going to come out and say it – I never finished Outlast. Not even close. I don’t plan to and I’ve not even got past the first monitor (security?) room very early on in the game. As I’m sure you’ve discovered by now, I’m pretty terrified of things chasing me. At least in Dead Space and Resident Evil you can shoot the monsters, but it’s just not the case in Outlast. I entered the room with all the monitors in it and hid in a cupboard. Some big monster dragging an axe (think it was an axe) came looking for me and I could literally feel my blood pressure rising. I got up off my couch, turned off the PS4 and noped that hell out of there. I just can’t handle that type of stress. You want me to defend myself by merely hiding? Get the hell out!
I’m sure there are many moments in games that stressed you out. You can list those moments below.